Shake-up brings tourism funding boost

MEMBERS of the East of England Tourist Board yesterday agreed to an organisational shake-up in return for a substantial increase in funding.

MEMBERS of the East of England Tourist Board yesterday agreed to an organisational shake-up in return for a substantial increase in funding.

The move, which will see the appointment of a new, smaller, panel of board members including a team of specialist commercial directors, was unanimously agreed by the board at a special general meeting held in Newmarket yesterday.

The East of England Development Agency agreed in October to increase its funding for the EETB from the current £543,000 a year to £1million, subject to the board agreeing to changes in the composition of its board and a restructuring to help it deliver on strategic tourism priorities set by EEDA.

Among the changes is a reduction in the EETB's main board from 17 directors to 12, with six commercial directors being selected through open competition, local authority representatives being reduced from six to two and a representative of the sub-regional economic partnerships being added.

The Regional Tourism Council will become the key advisor to the boards of EEDA and the EETB on tourism policy, and will include representatives of the tourism industry, local authorities, the nine sub-regional economic partnerships and organisations such as the Arts Council, Sport England and the Environment Agency.

The EETB's staffing structure will also be reorganised to help to deliver on the strategic priorities identified by EEDA.

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Recruitment for a new chairman and board of directors will begin in January 2006, with the new-look board due to be in place by April.

Jonathan Bowman, whose term as EETB chairman was due to expire in October, is staying on until a new chairman is appointed. EETB managing director Tess Wright will also leave when a successor has been appointed, some time after April 2006.

She said yesterday: “I am very pleased to have steered EETB through this long process of planning and change management towards a successful conclusion.

“My priority now is to complete the business planning and organisational restructuring that will take EETB forward into its new future, and it will then be time to move on to a new challenge.”

Mr Bowman added: “The East of England tourism industry owes a significant debt of gratitude to Tess Wright.

“She has led our industry for the last seven years through periods of unprecedented difficulty and change without ever losing sight of the primacy of the tourism industry and its consumers. Without her selfless efforts this change to our fortunes would have been very difficult to achieve.”

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